7th LEVEL has released Agent 7, software that utilizes voice recognition and RealAudio to create talking animated characters. Users select from a pre-made cast of animated characters, speak into a microphone or add an existing voice track, and Agent 7 automatically animates the character's lips and facial expressions using "phoneme" (voice) recognition. The resulting animation can be streamed in the same manner as RealAudio. 7th Level is offering a free, two-character trial version on the web site, www.real.com/products/tools/5.html.
MICROSOFT has renewed its contract with TOTALLY HIP SOFTWARE for the licensing of GIF animations used in Microsofts software. Randall McCallum, CEO of Totally Hip, said, Using our own technology to develop content for Microsoft products provides our development team with feedback that has helped make WebPainter an award-winning Web design tool. Read a review of WebPainter in the April 1997 issue of Animation World Magazine.
THE University of Washington has obtained a patent for its pen-and-ink illustration software developed by INKLINATION, a young Seattle-based company started by people in the schools Computer Science and Engineering Department. The technology, which was presented in two papers at SIGGRAPH 94, is now available for worldwide licensing.
Laguna Hills, California-based CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY, INC. (CETI) has introduced two new high-end graphics workstations: ProStation GS 400D and ProAlpha GS 667. The workstations, which cost $9,995 and $12,875 respectively, are compatible with animation software such as Alias|Wavefronts Maya, Softimage 3D, Lightwave 3DKinetixs 3D Studio MAX, and others.
The producers of Maya and PowerAnimator, Alias|Wavefront recentlyannounced that they were jumping into the technical surfacing market withthe introduction of its new SurfaceStudio. SurfaceStudio, which will bereleased later this year, will be a complement to the Alias Studio 9 familyof CAID products. "The introduction of SurfaceStudio is a natural extension of theAlias|Wavefront leadership in CAID tools. Our automotive customers, inparticular, have encouraged us to make this move and we greatly benefited
Robert McNeel & Associates will be releasing the final version of Rhino3D, a powerful NURBS-based modeling package, this month. The software, whichhas undergone an extensive public beta program (for the last 2 years), willbe available for Windows 95, 98 or NT, and is designed as a companion topackages like 3D Studio MAX and Lightwave. Priced at $795 US, the packageboasts features such as 3D digitising support (for Microscribe 3D and Faro),surface and solid modeling, an intuitive UI, and support for all major 3Dfile formats.
Registered MAC users of LightWave 3D 5.5 and 5.6 can now downloadOpenGL from the NewTek web site. "LightWave 3D with Mac OpenGL seems like acompletely new product. The speed in redrawing and real-time viewing hasbeen amazing," said Brad Peebler, NewTek's vice president, 3D graphicsgroup. "Macintosh users have been at a disadvantage in the industry by nothaving access to OpenGL. With our new Mac OpenGL update, NewTek has leveledthe playing field for our customers who use Macs."
German media group, ProSieben Media AG has bought a 20 percent stake in Los Angeles, California-based Aréte Image Software (AIS). The strategic alliance marks the first time the Munich-based company has invested in the American market. AIS, established in 1996, specializes in creating software--such as RenderWorld and Digital NatureTools--that enables animators to integrate water and atmospheric effects. The deal gives ProSieben exclusive rights to use AIS' technology and market it in Europe. Dr.
Animation World Magazine takes a jaunt into the innovative and remarkable: this month we look at two productions that are using computers to simulate cut-out animation techniques: South Park and Blue's Clues
Compositing 3D elements into live-action footage is a very important facet of post-production. Bill Fleming instructs us on how to get it just right.
Macromedia's Dreamweaver impressed Dan Sarto. Read on for why this web authoring tool is hard to beat.
PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI) has licensed Alias|Wavefront's compositing software, Composer, for use in its computer animation production. This represents a significant outside purchase for the studio, which mainly uses in-house proprietary software. PDI's director of research and development, Ken Pearce explained, "It's often difficult to incorporate off-the-shelf solutions into our proprietary graphics pipeline, but the openness of Composer makes it easy to integrate."
BIOMECHANICS has released a software program called Nuance, which is specifically designed to edit captured motion. It allows animators to "tweak" motion-capture data to perfect the animation or "resize" motion by determining a number of frames over which an action will occur. Nuance can be used with 3D animation software such as Maya and 3D Studio MAX. The cost is U.S. $7, 495. for a single-seat license.
Osmosis Jones blends hokey live-action and slick animation into a cop spoof that is both gross and clever. J. Paul Peszko reveals the process behind these two separate worlds.
Robert Gonzales shares his insight on the various tools currently available for creating animation on the Internet.
Webmaster Ged Bauer gives Macromedia's Fireworks a try to determine whether it is the "all-in-one-be-all-end-all" web graphics application that it claims to be.
Kellie-Bea Rainey tests out Animation Toolworks' Video LunchBox, an innovative frame-grabbing tool for animators, students, seven year-olds and potato farmers alike!
3-D animator Bill Fleming details the development of technologies for animating fur and hair in computer animation.
Visual effects artist Marian Rudnyk describes the rotoscoping process used for the creation of atmospheric effects in the Oscar-winning feature film, Titanic
Josephine Anstey and Dave Pape describe the CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment, a virtual reality display device which uses 3-D animation. In other words, it is an entertainment prototype that can best be described as a Star Trek HoloDeck precursor.
Silicon Graphics, Inc. is the leader in simulation animation. Thor J. Mednick discovers just how broad the applications are, from military to medical.
Anne-Marie Meissonnier describes The International Content Market for Interactive Media's (MILIA) main topics in "MILIA 1998: The Key Points," available in French and English.
Want to make professional-looking banners for the web that are complete with animations? Ged Bauer puts this new banner-creating software, MicroSites, to the test.